On the Bookshelf...

The Drowning Isle

Simon McCleave

On a remote island, there’s nowhere to run… Callum and his three best friends are celebrating their eighteenth birthdays with an epic camping trip to the mysterious Llanddwyn Island, off the coast of Anglesey. Then Callum disappears, and the others return to the mainland in a state of shock. When his body is discovered, DI Laura Hart is brought in to investigate. Is the murder the work of the Fair Men, a pagan group with a dark history who still hold their ceremonies on the island? Or were the boys less tight-knit than they would have Laura believe? Amongst all the mysteries and lies, Laura is sure about one thing: the island will not give up its secrets easily…

The Drowning Isle by Simon McCleave is a really excellent police procedural thriller set on the wind-swept shores of Yyns Mons, Anglesey. A story that fills the pages with emotional and heartbreak for the close-knit Anglesey police community.

When four teenagers go camping to celebrate an eighteenth birthday, only three return from beach after a drug and alcohol fuelled session. It's up to Laura and her team to find the missing teenager and find out what really happened that fateful afternoon.

I've never read any of Simon's books before this one. As this was the third part of the mystery series, I was slightly apprehensive that I would struggle to pick up the story line. No worries on that score, the story is recapped in the appropriate places without being an intrusion into the tension. Quite a nice trick Mr McCleave. The back story involving police corruption will make me want to read the previous books as well as look out for new installments in the future.

The story telling is excellent, the pace of the book just right. Devoured during a couple of nights reading (I didn't want to stop), this is a police thriller at the top of the class. The story and suspects seesaw throughout the book. The final few chapters make grim reading. Not for the quality of the writing but the way the story pans out.

At the very end I turned the page expecting another chapter to draw the story to a close, but no the author drops an almighty cliffhanger that will leave me frustrated all year waiting for th conclusion. Nice work Simon and a fitting end to one of the best police procedurals I've read so far this year.

Five towers all the way through. A brilliant and highly entertaining read.

Thanks to Netgallery and Avon Books UK for the eARC in exchange for a fair and independent review.

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Review by
AJ Steel
November 14, 2023

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